Halo Infinite multiplayer release date: when is the free-to-play mode of Xbox Series X game out in the UK?

According to rumours, the multiplayer component of the highly anticipated Xbox game could ‘shadow drop’ at any hour now

Halo Infinite may not be releasing until early December, but fans are convinced that the game’s free multiplayer mode could be made available much sooner.

As soon as today (15 November), in fact.

Here’s everything you need to know about it.

Why would the multiplayer launch today?

Fans are speculating that the launch may occur as part of Xbox’s 20th Anniversary live stream, which is scheduled to take place at 6pm GMT on 15 November.

It’s been 20 years since the first Xbox console launched in 2001, and Microsoft have been celebrating the legacy of their gaming machines in the run-up to the anniversary.

Ahead of the stream, Xbox have tempered expectations by saying they “won’t announce any new games” as part of the stream, but will “celebrate some of our favourite moments from the past 20 years.”

Technically, the date also marks the anniversary of the first Halo game, which was released as a launch title alongside the original console.

Fans are speculating that while no new games will be announced, Microsoft do have a few tricks up their sleeve, and that one of them could be the ‘surprise’ release of Halo Infinite’s multiplayer.

The multiplayer mode has always been known to be ‘free-to-play’ (that is, free to download and play, but likely monetised through optional microtransactions for bonus content), and will likely be delivered as a separate ‘game’ to Halo Infinite’s single-player campaign, much how Call of Duty handles its own ‘Warzone’ element.

What is the evidence?

Over the weekend, eagle eyed data miners uncovered reference to a time and date within Halo Infinite’s online store page.

Multiple uses of the date 15 November 2021 and the time of 6pm were used, in conjunction with the reference ‘PreOrderReleaseDate’.

While these references were quickly updated by Microsoft to match the game’s publicised 8 December release date, many games journalists and insiders claim they have heard that the multiplayer will indeed be launching as part of the live stream.

Journalist Tom Henderson claimed that the early launch plans “were real” and “could happen”, while Jeff Grubb suggested the early launch claims were true.

“With the caveat that launching games is nearly impossible and things could still go wrong,” he said on Twitter, “I’m gonna lean toward ‘poor Battlefield’ for tomorrow.”

Battlefield 2042 is also releasing this week, and will likely see many of its players gravitate towards Halo should it surprise release today.

However, some are not so sure of such an early release date.

Insider NateTheHate2, who had previously "independently confirmed" the launch, told his followers that an "11th hour change" has caused the release to be delayed, but fans can still expect it some time this month.

When can I play Halo Infinite?

While it remains to be seen whether the game will indeed release at 6pm today, it is known when gamers will definitely be able to get their hands on the full Halo Infinite package, single-player campaign and all.

The game is currently scheduled for release on Wednesday 8 December 2021. It will be playable on Xbox One consoles, and the newer Xbox Series X/S consoles, as well as PC.

Members of Microsoft’s Game Pass subscription service will be able to download and play the game at no extra cost as soon as it is released.

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